Roy Exum: My January Garden

Monday, January 1, 2018 - by Roy Exum
Roy Exum
Roy Exum

Oh my mercy, as I stomp around in my garden on this first day of the year, I cannot find an orchid or an onion - this because my eyelids are frozen shut. On the first day of every month I report on the orchids and onions I find in life and this January one thing is for sure: we have no global warming in my garden. So based solely on what I can recollect, here is my first 2018 list:

AN ORCHID to a certain little girl named Caitlin who was given a gorgeous lesson in Christmas when she and her mom – dressed to the nines in holiday gear – went to Alexian Brothers and passed out dozens of hand-made ornaments.

AN ONION to the Durham school bus driver who, in the very shadow of the horrible Woodmore tragedy, just pleaded guilty to statutory rape of a 15-year-old girl he ravaged in March 2015. According to court testimony Alexander Rodrigues was hired despite pleading guilty to drugs and gun possession.

AN ORCHID to Jim and Mary Bach and Richard and Sunny Wagner. Every year they throw a party-with-a-purpose for their friends at Christmas and this season’s 28th Annual “Get Together” netted over $19,000 for the Chattanooga Community Kitchen. Talk about ‘Good Cheer!”

AN ONION to a Louisiana court who sentenced Robert Noce to five years’ probation after he sexually molested a woman who was engaged and expecting a child. The girl’s boyfriend, Jace Crehan, was so incensed by the court’s leniency that Jace sought out the molester and strangled the very life out of him. Jace then told police officers you dad gum right he did it and is expected to serve the rest of his life in prison. The view from here? Jace did what the court should have done and surely there will be a pardon after a reasonable time.

AN ORCHID to the Tennessee Legislature for looking into the fact the Tennessee achievement tests for state public schools has been botched for three straight years. Add the fact that in Shelby County (Memphis) ACT assessments just determined that fewer than six percent of 2017 graduates are college ready. Out of 6,000 students, only 386 made the mark.

AN ONION to the disappointing realization Chattanooga no longer has Bill Kilbride in our midst with the Chamber of Commerce and that Bob Corker will end his Senate run this year. You’d be hard pressed to find two people within 50 miles of MLK and Market who have been such ‘heavy lifters’ for us.

AN ORCHID to the exciting news that ketamine, a powerful drug used with anesthesia, has been found to have an unusual side effect – it has been discovered that ketamine has an almost instant ability to calm those thought to be suicidal. Psychiatrists and emergency room specialists say it could be a game changer as a quick way to treat severe depression.

AN ONION for the horrifying news that 80 percent of Chattanoogans are scared to walk in our downtown area. The City Council must ban panhandling immediately, including those who stand at stop signs begging for beer and cigarette money elsewhere in Chattanooga. Public safety in the downtown area should be a major priority.

AN ORCHID to Sheriff Jim Hammond and his command staff as they will begin to separate the mentally ill from the true criminals at the Hamilton County jail this month. I cannot think of a greater public service, especially to the families of those who need to be treated as “patients” instead of those who break our laws.

AN ONION to the National Football League – after losing over $500 million this season because of protests -- the NFL fined New Orleans Saints running back Alvin Kamara $6,079 for wearing bright-red Christmas cleats a week ago.

AN ORCHID to whoever made the decision that in my church service on New Year’s Eve – this on the very brink of a brand new year – we should sing “Rock of Ages.”

AN ONION for the reply of a first-grader in Edinburg, Texas, who – when tasked to write a note to Santa – asked for a ball, some food, and a blanket. Her teacher wept, word got out, and donations are still arriving daily at the Monte Cristo Elementary School for the destitute child. Do you realize we have children just like her in Chattanooga?

AN ORCHID to Bryan Caplan, an economist and tenured professor at George Mason University, who just wrote an article for The Atlantic Magazine that – gasp! – asserted colleges can be “extremely wasteful.” The professor claims “The college-for-all mentality has fostered neglect of a realistic substitute – vocational education. It takes many guises – classroom training, apprenticeships and other types of on-the-job training, and straight-up work experience – but they have much in common. All vocation education teaches specific skills, and all vocational education revolves around learning by doing, not learning by listening.”

AN ONION to the fact that today Americans will have $50 billion in new credit card debt. Last year was the worst year for debt since the Great Depression.

AN ORCHID for the belief that most Americans blame the media for our public anger but most Democrats do not. So there.

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